CinemaCon 2015 Showcase The Future of Movie Technology

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In the past CinemaCon was so packed with studio events that I never had the chance to properly walk the show floor. On Tuesday, I realized that I actually had a 4 hour gap between presentations so I took a leisurely walk about the show room floor and discovered something. DMV movie theater owners need to step up their game. Most theaters in DC are over 15 years old and the age is showing.

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In the past CinemaCon was so packed with studio events that I never had the chance to properly walk the show floor. On Tuesday, I realized that I actually had a 4 hour gap between presentations so I took a leisurely walk about the show room floor and discovered something. DMV movie theater owners need to step up their game. Most theaters in DC are over 15 years old and the age is showing.

CinemaCon features one of the most interesting and coolest show room floors of any convention I attend. Primarily because they feed me. You can get everything from Nathan’s Hot Dogs, to Mini Cinnamon Donuts to Oreo Cookie Churros. Oreo Cookie Churros, who knew this was a thing? Beyond that every major drink maker and theater decorator had a little spot on the floor.  I met a lot of the smaller theater owners and everyone told me that the single biggest investment has been installing reclining leather chairs into their theaters – and the investment has paid off. Something as simple as adding leather recliners has fostered more loyalty and increased their bottom lines. People like to be comfortable – who knew?

Theater Technology is Changing

A few years ago Theater owners had a big challenge of converting everything from Film to digital, then to digital 3D. The new hotness is going to be high rez projection. Several companies are on hand demoing their vision of the future – Dolby has the amazing Dolby Vision + Dolby Atmos technology that was on full display for Disney’s screening of Pixar’s Inside Out and man did it look STUNNING. Pioneer and Phillips are showcasing laser based projection systems and companies like Sony and Barco are pushing 4K projectors.

I think there’s a point where everything is going to be so sharp and crisp that the emotion is going to get lost a little bit. I do miss the “softness” of film. Talking about screen tech is hard, when you see things like HDR and Laser project in action, the results are stunning. Having true black does make a huge difference in the viewing experience.

I’m sad that I missed the HDR and Dolby Vision technical discussion, everyone that I talked to was blown away by what they saw. The special screening of Inside Out was presented in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos sound and it looked so richly detailed that at times it felt like I was watching a 3D film.

Timeplay Interactive had a major presence at the show demoing their app that promises to deliver a fun gaming experience during the pre-show where people can interact with advertisements, movie trailers and other people in the theater. During the big demo, people were engaged and seemed like they were enjoying themselves. Personally, I found it annoying.

Companies like D-Box, 4DX and others are promoting chairs and experience that try and put you in the movie by having chairs that shake, rumble, “roll,” or include environmental changes (like 4DX) where you can literally feel the spray of water hitting you in the face. Again, no thanks, I go to the movies to relax and not be over “stimulated.”  All the new interactive technology seems to be designed to attract young’ns and not necessarily the rest of us.

DMV movie theater owners need to step up their game. Most theaters in DC are over 15 years old and the age is showing.